Arquivo para a ‘Information ethics’ Categoria

Belonging, inclusion and innocence

31 Mar

The question raised by Michael Sandel transcends the limits of law, life and ontology itself, these are the arguments that justify the death of an innocent, violence and finally war, while the argument of a simple spectator who remembers that someone will die and can be a donor of organs freely and through a natural death.

Belonging can also be an argument for both the death of an innocent and the refusal of it, there are many cases in a war where, for some reason, someone who could kill an “enemy” in some unusual situation refuses to do so.

The aspect of the social contract where the state has a “monopoly” on violence, so it is fair to kill in defense of society, it is even fair to use cruelty (such as torture, for example) to obtain information and fight “evil” of the opposing group is also questionable.

The fact that we have not abandoned such methods and principles is the most serious testimony of the small advance that socially we still walk in the civilizing process, the fact that we are returning little by little to the serious periods of the Cold War indicates that we are still in a waiting period.

How many innocent people and civilians have little or nothing to support certain wars, like the Russian girl who made an innocent drawing about the war, shows that alongside the perversity of imperial struggles and colonizing processes, they are far from having been banished from civilization.

But what does the death of an innocent person mean, what is the ontological and theological meaning of this symbol, the lamb that Abram sacrificed in place of the son who would be sacrificed, let us remember that there are three great Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the that means

It is certainly far from the logic of law, far from rational logic, it means that only innocence and pacifism can contribute to a true civilizing process that dignifies man.

The Easter week that begins next Sunday, although it is a Christian feast, can and should lead humanity to reflect on the true passion for civilization, which, despite all the human suffering caused by wars and injustices, can dream of a new civilization.



Political justice and innocence

29 Mar

State morality was developed together with the historical contractualist conception through Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) in particular in his Leviathan, John Locke (1632-1704), founder of empiricism and Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778), for him man is born good and society corrupts him.

In the social contract, individual rights are transferred to state power by a contract and so it can be said that it is the root of the principle in dubio pro societate (in doubt, society is defended), there is no presumption of innocence.

The transfer of powers to the state also transfers the end of innocence that implies not allowing the emotional development of children and adolescents in a family environment, and thus the discussion of criminal age starts to make sense, and the whole concept of justice becomes political .

The contemporary development of contractualism is in the philosopher John Rawls (1921-2002) for whom a metaphysical conception of morality is not possible, he develops the concept of “justice as fairness” presented in his book “A theory of Justice ”.

John Rawls profoundly influenced the thinking of Michael Sandel who is one of the most influential current thinkers in the western culture of justice and thus heir of contractualism, and both are heirs of the Kantian conception of morality.

One of the rare authors to analyze this position was Paul Ricoeur (1913-20050 in his book The Just (Vol. I), dedicating a good part of the text to the analysis of John Rawls and developing the idea of law in its peculiar position, a half way between morality and politics, without which it is utilitarian and not by chance was deeply influenced by the utilitarian thought of John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). 

Equity is not possible without a personal human relationship, Ricoeur said: “The virtue of justice is established based on a relationship of distance with the other, as original as the relationship of proximity with the other offered in his face and in his voice” and this does not it is neither exact nor pragmatic.

RAWLS, John. (1997) Uma teoria da justiça. Tradução Almiro Pisetta e Lenita M. R. Esteves. Brazil, São Paulo: Martins Fontes.

RICOEUR, P. (1995) Le Juste 1. Paris : Éditions Esprit.

SANDEL, M.J. (2013) Como fazer a coisa certa. São Paulo: Civilização Brasileira.



Innocence and right

28 Mar

In another post, we have already drawn differences between innocence, naivety and ignorance, the first being something we are unaware of, however we perceive the harm (or good) in the act, naivety is when we are unaware of the effect of an act that it can cause and ignorance it is when we are unaware that there is an evil in a practiced act.

We dealt with this situation in a post made some time ago, and in the previous post about the current war.

Violence is evil practiced intentionally, and in this case it goes beyond deceit and is usually the victim of some kind of hatred, revenge or mere distemper, there is always something of ignorance in violence.

Some authors treated this philosophically and there are those who see in innocence a “danger” in which it would be possible to adhere to some evil committed, Nietzsche saw it this way, but for current authors this is seen from the legal idea of presumption of innocence, in doubt pro reo.

The thought that opposes this is the in dubio pro societate, in this case the promoter of some illicit act must file a complaint in favor of society, the opposing arguments are in the decision of the values of dignity and the right to freedom, and here is the presumption of innocence.

For idealists like Kant, the individual is endowed with reason and dignity, so performing an action for a reason outside its causes and not because it is the right thing to do and this is in favor of freedom.

For this reason Bauman will discuss mixophobia, that is, the desire to oppose those who are different, strangers or minorities, the more the world becomes global and plural this must appear in larger doses.

In Bauman’s view this would be increasing fear in cities, if he lived through these times of pandemic and polarization perhaps he would perceive more clearly that there is a greater basic problem, one that comes from cultures and environments where the desire to isolate oneself from the different.

One of the greatest lecturers on this subject, bringing together large audiences in his lectures is Michael Sandel, we will see later, but Freud in a way anticipated this in Civilization and its Discontents: “An unrestricted satisfaction of all needs presents itself as the most tempting method of conducting our lives, however, means putting pleasure before caution, immediately incurring its own punishment.”

People live under global risks, where everything can turn into explosive and violent situations.

BAUMAN, Zygmunt.(2006) Verdade e medo na cidade.(Trust and fear in the city). Translation by Miguel Serras Pereira. Lisbon: Water Clock.

KANT, Immanuel. (1986). Fundamentação da Metafísica dos costumes (Metaphysical foundation of morals). Translated from German by Paulo Quintela. Lisbon: Editions 70.


War and Innocence

27 Mar

There are numerous political, economic, historical and even religious reasons for starting a conflict, but this is not from the perspective of the innocent thought of a child who dreams of a world without conflicts, peace and human dignity for all.

The drawing of a child, we omit the name and the police situation that later involved the case, is a generous and innocent look at the world, and reinforces the idea that there is a sincere feeling of friendship and fraternity still present in humanity.

The situation of the conflict is getting worse, with the Russian threat to send “strategic” nuclear weapons to Belarus, Russia’s allied country, on the battlefield Ukraine “stabilized” the situation in Bahkmut, the most violent front of the war and where they were the forces of the mercenaries of the Wagner group.

The possibility of a third block of negotiations with Russia, announced by China whose president made a recent visit to China and expected the visit of the Brazilian government, however the president presented a picture of pneumonia and influenza and postponed the visit.

They are ideologically closer to Russia, but this third block has this as an asset since it is visible that Putin does not listen to NATO or the UN, see the Hague condemnation of the extradition of Ukrainian children to Russia, which condemned him the prison.

The picture is delicate and requires caution and effort for a possible negotiation of peace, people who look generously at humanity cannot see the world differently, they must not seek justifications and assumptions for war, they must have the generous look of a child.



The Examined Life in Love

24 Mar

We can examine that an examined life is according to the great deeds, names that went down in history, the recent revisions show that it is not quite like that, also tyrants, colonizers and not so honest people can have earthly glories, but fleeting.

The life examined according to Socrates, and also Kurosawa’s assumption in his film Ikiru (Life) is about what was built for the love of others, and this makes a life “well lived”, for this reason Socrates will inspire the creation of the Greek polis, a society at the service of all citizens, even if the concept of citizenship was restricted.

One can always look around and see something good and fair that can be done, many men have done small or large deeds for the public good without receiving any recognition, the old man who dies in the park he helped build in Kurosawa’s film he is happy even in the face of death.

I call this type of clearing of conscience enlightenment, it cannot be made of appearances or subterfuges, it must be done in front of the mirror and of conscience itself, the phenomenon that I believe to be possible, perhaps one day for all humanity (if it is which is not done at the time of death), would make men better because they would lose the masks of their narratives.

There are two Lazarus in the Bible who are misfortunes, the miserable one who stays at the door of a rich man’s house, who waits at the door for alms and leftovers, and Lazaro, friend of Jesus, who, even knowing his death, only goes to visit him 4 days later and he resuscitates him, he doesn’t just do it out of compassion, he also does it out of a pedagogical attitude, after the feat some Jews believed in him for such an accomplishment.

The Reading of John 11: 41-42 says: “Then they took away the stone. Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: ‘Father, I thank you for listening to me. I know you always listen to me. But I say this for the sake of the people around me, so that they may believe that you sent me.”

The text says that Jesus wept, so evangelical love is not devoid of feeling, nor is it pure feeling, there is a reason to believe: to believe that love gives dignity to human life.



The next strategy could be decisive

20 Mar

While Bakhmut’s battles are still bloody, apparently neither Russia nor Ukraine consider it more vital, for Ukraine it is a stalemate waiting for weapons from the West: tanks, jets and more ammunition, for Russia a deception that cost many lives, in particular of mercenaries from the so-called “Wagner command”, who criticize Russia for this.

To reinforce this Putin visited Mariupol and the Crimea, Russian rearguard positions, in points already conquered in other battles, with extreme security, but to guarantee the morale of the troop and his own, since he was condemned together with his commissioner Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belov for taking 6,000 Ukrainian children for “re-education” to Russia.

With conviction, both could be arrested, but it is unlikely that they will come to the West.

The new strategy expected by the Ukrainians is an invasion to the north by Belarus, but their army is small and would only be effective if supported by Russian forces, the Russians in turn would like to consolidate the positions in Donetsk and Mariupol, gaining a strip of territory in Ukraine.

China and Belarus continue to claim “extreme interest” in peace and an end to hostilities, as they lose a lot commercially with the war, but will certainly support Russian achievements.

The event of interception of an American drone in the Black Sea by a Russian fighter also caused strong tension, the escalation of the “spring” in Ukraine is foreseen by the sending of more weapons.

There is always some encouragement for peace, but since the beginning of the war the scenario has only evolved in the opposite way, there is a suspension of breath about the new war strategies.



About lucidity

14 Mar

We have already posted about blindness, in some essays (such as the one by José Saramago that became a film by the Brazilian Fernando Meirelles in 2008) and we also made a connection with The plague by Albert Camus, making a relationship with war, 3 things related and analyzed were from our time (the Pandemic, the blindness of the denialist vision and the War), we also posted last week about the clearing.

Now we do the opposite, let’s analyze lucidity and what it means in the history of humanity, starting again with Saramago, let’s look at his Essay on Lucidity, because he makes an interesting game for our development here, an allegory between light and dark.

This relationship is important because Saramago recovers elements from the first essay on blindness (the color white as a symbol, for example, the characters and the tree epidemic), it can be said that it is an extension of the first narrative.

Lucidity speaks of an election where two parties only had about 8% of the votes, with a significant blank vote, contrary to many arguments about this possible depoliticization, Saramago makes a curious counterpoint, he did not experience the current polarization:

“…it is because those blank votes, which came to deal a brutal blow against the democratic abnormality in which our personal and collective life was taking place, did not fall from the clouds or rise from the bowels of the earth, they were in the pocket of eighty-three out of every hundred electors of this city, who, by their own, but not patriotic hand, cast them at the ballot box.”

It was decided to carry out a survey, but the 83% did not manifest themselves until a person decided to send a letter to the leaders, and it was this letter that gave a new direction to the investigation and, no matter how much resistance there was, the government would not give in so easily, it could yourself realize where the problem is.

This upside-down reading of our political scenario, which is not very different from the US and Italy, just to give two examples, is very interesting to understand the political lucidity that seems to go against the grain in contemporary politics.

SARAMAGO, J. “Ensaio sobre a lucidez” (Essay on lucidity), Brazil,SP: Ed.: Companhia das Letras, 2004.



Clearing: method and contestation

08 Mar

It is through phenomenology that it is possible to resume the positivity of the being in relation to the only possible transcendentality, where the thing opens up in the dimension of the transcendental, the one that we developed in last week’s post and which in a certain way is opposed to Kant’s transcendent, which goes towards the knowledge of the object and for this reason it is confused with subjectivity.

In phenomenology, there is an intentional consciousness in its “a priori”, taken in a similar way to the subjective (proper of the subject), however, consciousness as a phenomenon reveals what is hidden, what the Greeks called “alétheia”, but at that moment science and all awareness of it was early.

In the phenomenal experience of the clearing (lichtung) there is the truth of the being that gives itself with a kind of “arch-phenomenon” (Ereignis), this is the very thing of phenomenology, where its intentionality is, but this also remains hidden.

If we create a void in consciousness in a phenomenal way (the phenomenological epoche), we open ourselves to our truth, we can enter a clearing even before an external event clears us up, this is the reason why humanism in both Heidegger and Sloterdijk is tied to history.

It was Hans Georg Gadamer who developed “The Question of Historical Consciousness” in his contestation of the romantic historical truth which is a quasi-determinism defended by many variants of leftist thought (Marx did not defend it), however there is the question of “natural time” in opposition to “human time”, a self-awareness of consciousness itself.

The hermeneutic circle method is a way to break this conception of consciousness that is only “temporal”, but it comes up against what must be “beyond the human”, shrouded in mystery and vices of historical interpretation.

Rüsen (2011) says that there is a type of historical consciousness made through the “intellectual transformation of natural time into human time”, understanding natural time as contingent events and human time as human representations of life itself.

Few are able to see in their own representations distortions of the truth, interpretations and repressed feelings that do not “clear” the conscience, this seen in a civilizing panorama transforms authoritarian, inhuman and destructive concepts into obscurity of the conscience, not to use the Greek alethéia again.



War and the End of Winter

06 Mar

The Russian strategy was to “freeze” the Ukrainians and their allies in Europe in the winter, so not only did it limit the shipment of gas but it also bombed several energy sources in Ukraine, with Europe stocking gas before and knowing the Russian strategy, it went to get natural gas in other sources, such as Africa, and now we are at the end of winter there (and summer here in the southern hemisphere).

A possible war tactic now would be the use of biological weapons, there are already reports that this has occurred in Ukraine, they are prohibited by international agreements, but a direct confrontation with NATO would bring enormous wear and tear beyond the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe.

Brazil’s vote and intervention for peace had a negative reaction in Russia, which has already alerted Brazil to a confrontational position, Brazil was the only country to vote against Russian intervention in the last vote that increased the rejection of Russian intervention, there is no other name for the fact.

The end of winter brings a period of great flooding and shifting terrain and the advance of ground forces is not possible, the young people recruited for the war in Russia do not have skills for heavy weapons and aviation for the most part.

What is the path to peace at the moment, Brazil is trying to form a “neutral” bloc that dialogues with both sides, but NATO is a fundamental part of the war in Ukraine and therein lies the difficulty.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel stated that the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said that the time of peace is over in Europe, it is a serious statement, which came in response to Russian threats, also there is already a visible movement (I am aware of some cases) of services that can be done from home are moving outside Europe.

In the event of a biological war, of course we hope it never comes to this point, the evacuation of many services would be inevitable and a completely warlike climate would settle on the continent.

We hope and always believe in possible peace.



The electronic narrative

02 Mar

The rapid evolution of Artificial Intelligence, after a serious crisis towards the end of the millennium, brings a mystifying aspect to the scenario of scientific dissemination and sometimes even to scientific research itself, which sees it beyond the real possibilities or below what it is able.

That is why we pointed out in the previous post the real evolution and sophistication of Machine Learning algorithms and the growth of Deep Learning technology, this is the current rapid evolution, the evolution of electronic assistants (several of them are already on the market such as Siri and Alexa) is still limited and we commented in a post about the LaMBDA machine that it would have “sentient” capability.

Sentient is different from consciousness, because it is the ability of beings to perceive sensations and feelings through the senses, this would mean in the case of machines having something “subjective” (we have already spoken about the limitation of the term and its difference from the soul), although they are capable of of narratives.

This narrative, however complex it may be, is an electronic narrative, an algorithmic one, with the interaction of man and machine through “deep learning”, it is possible that it confuses and even surprises the human being with narratives and elaborations of speeches, however it will depend on always from the human narratives from which they are fed and create an electronic narrative.

I cite an example of the chatGPT that excites the mystifying discourse and creates an alarm in the technophobic discourse and creates speculations even about the transhuman limits of the machine.

A list of films considered extraordinary, exemplifies the limit of electronic storytelling, due to its human power, the list gave the following films: “Citizen Kane” (1941), “The Godfather” (1972), “Back to the Future ” (1985), “Casablanca” (1942), “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001), “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), ” Psycho” (1960), “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back” (1980) and “Pulp Fiction” (1994).

No mention of the Japanese Akira Kurosawa, the German Werner Herzog or the Italian Frederico Felini, just to name a few, about fiction would not leave out of the list Blade Runner – the hunter of androids, well connected to the technologies of “open AI” or the historic Metropolis (from 1927 by the Austrian Fritz Lang).

The electronic narrative has the limitation of what feeds it, which is the human narrative, even if it is made by the wisest human, it will have contextual and historical limitations.